First flight at age of 76 as Colney care home organises a boost for poorly David

David Gurney, centre, who has a terminal illness, went on his first flight in a Saxon Air helicopter

David Gurney, centre, who has a terminal illness, went on his first flight in a Saxon Air helicopter. With him are his sister Cindy Thomas (left) and SaxonAir's Edward Barrett. Pic: Liam Hind. - Credit: Liam Hind

He had already been visited by dozens of motorcyclists to cheer him up, but now David Gurney has taken flight for the first time, at the age of 76.

Mr Gurney, who has terminal cancer, lives at the Oakwood House Nursing Home in Colney, where staff have gone the extra mile to give him something to smile about.

Last month, care home staff decided to give the lifelong motorcycle fan a treat by organising for a few riders to bring their machines to visit him.

But their idea mushroomed and, after an appeal on Facebook more than 80 riders made their way to the Old Watton Road home.

Mr Gurney, who has owned for motorcycles over the years, including a Norton 650cc, was moved to tears by the heart-warming gesture.

However, that was not the end of it, because Mr Gurney happened to mention that he had never flown before...


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Emily Wilson, activities co-ordinator at the care home, said: 'We had a collection on that day and David mentioned that he had always wanted to go in a helicopter.

'We raised some money on the day and then, having seen the story about it in the EDP we had a call from someone who generously donated £50.

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'We had a whip round at the home and raised the money to pay for his trip.'

On Saturday, Mr Gurney, a former shoe factory and boatyard worker, who moved into the care home last November, became airborne for the first time.

Norwich-born Mr Gurney took flight in a SaxonAir helicopter at Norwich International Airport, where he was joined in the skies by his sister Cindy Thomas.

Mrs Wilson said: 'It was brilliant. After the motorbike day, that gave him such a boost and it has been lovely to see.

'He had never flown in a plane or a helicopter before, so it was a wonderful experience for him.

'The day could not have gone better.

'After the flight, they took us into the hangar and showed him all the other aircraft they have.

'He was so emotional about it all.'

• Have you got a heart-warming story which you would like to share with our readers? Call 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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